March 14th–20th, 2016 / Cinema Muzeul Țăranului, Cinema Elvire Popesco, Universitatea Națională de Muzică / the 6th edition
You are here
International Competition - Urban Rituals
Curatorial presentation by Andrei Tănăsescu
We all take part in rituals, whether we’re aware of it or not - it’s all a matter of perspective. Daily routine could be the individual’s ceremonial procession through society while on a larger scale it becomes ‘convention’. Sometimes, we participate in these ceremonies of culture either without knowing it, pulled into the force of an unseen current that shapes and defines us. At other times, our involvement is deliberate, drawn to the ritual of a collective consciousness.
Urban Rituals groups together four films which play with the particularities that make up our various socio-cultural practices. Be they dominant or sub-cultural, these customs thrive with a life-force that renders each of them unique and indispensable to their practitioners. Who knows, you might find yourself within them.
If Magritte’s Treachery of Images ‘n’est pas une pipe,’ in Scott Cummings’ own words, 'Buffalo Juggalos is not a documentary.' At first, it even starts off as a stylized portraiture of America’s Juggalo community, the fan base devoted to the rapcore group Insane Clown Posse (and its affiliate label bands). Hidden behind their ritualistic makeup, a procession of Juggalos stare into the camera with passive nonchalance as they are framed in commonplace suburban settings. Yet with each still-life tableaux, the comfort of suburbia is unsettled as the Juggalo ethos manifests itself, plunging us into its surreal psyche. By the end, we’re left seduced and abandoned by Cummings’ celebration of sub-cultural Americana, a visceral life-force whose life philosophy is No Fucks Given.
Under the balmy skies of the American Dream, Romanian filmmaker Mara Trifu reaches for the stars in Perfection Is Forever, an acutely observant allegory for our endless search for beauty and wholeness. Within Los Angeles’ culture of glamour and alter-egos, we’re guided by two crusaders of the ideal: a Superman impersonator and drag-queen MonaLiza Doomsday. Captured in their environment on the periphery of downtown’s hustle-and-bustle, they take us through their rituals of beautification as breasts are tucked, make-up is applied and the all-important hair products produce the Superman curl. Out in the open, society calls ‘action’ and the role-playing performance begins. Trifu’s trademark approach of lensing documentary through the magical gives a poignant touch to the film’s closing message: there is, indeed, a Superman in all of us.
Douwe Dijkstra returns to BIEFF with his latest award-winning movie, Supporting Film. A love (and hate) letter to cinema, Dijkstra’s clever and inventive film explores the fussy relationship between you, the viewer, and cinema. Be it communal or solitary, the personal experience of watching films is scrutinized by spectators of all ages, whose recorded testimonies become in Dijkstra’s illustrative, animating hands, individual worlds of artisanal wonder and childlike exuberance. From the opening credits to the closing scrawl and everything in-between, individual idiosyncrasies clash and bond with film language, in a celebration of cinema and its power to suspend our disbelief.
How does a city of 20 million people cope with an antiquated sewage system at risk of daily mass flooding due to the accumulated refuse? Enter deep-sea diver and gonzo-Jacques Cousteau Julio César cú Cámara, who for the past 30 years has immersed himself in the terra fluida of Mexico City to unclog the sewer passageway of society’s detritus. Under Esteban Arrangoiz’ direction, Julio’s story transcends its social utility by submerging us past grainy Super16mm images of abstracted landscapes of garbage into an unseen, silent realm. For us and Julio, each dive becomes a ritualistic act that plunges him in an altered state of consciousness among the unknown of darkness and miscellanea. Carrying itself with the wide-eyed fascination of a Jules Verne story, The Diver is a captivating portrait of a social worker’s metaphysical pilgrimage.